41 Buckingham Palace Road

 

There’s a dream of England that many of us have: wood-paneled libraries, a cozy fireplace, large comfy leather chairs, the most gracious service. You can find this at 41, a boutique hotel that’s located at the very prestigious 41 Buckingham Palace Road, just across from the Royal Mews.

The wood-paneled library/fireplace/leather chair area is 41’s  “Executive Lounge” where you take your delicious breakfast in the morning and your cocktails before supper or at the end of an evening. You will perhaps never feel as cosseted as when having a cocktail in front of the fireplace at 41.

The rooms are extremely spacious for central London, and very well laid out with all the right gadgets and amenities. (Business travel would be quite easy to handle when staying here.) The black and white color scheme is classic and contemporary, so you never feel like you’re trapped in one of those ghastly floral chintz nightmares that can often happen in elegant places in England. 

The 41’s beds are a dream, while the showers and deep tubs have amazing water pressure, perfect for rinsing off the city’s grime or getting a bath run quickly, so you can bring out your inner Churchill. (The former Prime Minister and maker of history made many critical decisions from the bath.)   

Aside from the wonderful location, the amazing lounge, and the nice rooms, it’s the people who work here who make the 41 truly exceptional. My husband and I were celebrating our 10-year wedding anniversary and the staff did so much to make it special. Even if you weren’t celebrating a special event, the staff will go out of their way to make your stay seamless, anticipating your every need. The concierge will provide you with directions to a restaurant where you’re meeting friends (without your asking); the reception staff will help reserve the fireplace nook so you can have a cocktail hour at the hotel with your friends; the staff can get anything booked for you in London and beyond. All while being some of the most pleasant (and interesting) people you could hope to meet.

The 41 is well worth the price for making your stay in London truly memorable.  They consistently win a slew of awards, and each is well-deserved.

For more info and reservations, see 41 online @ 
http://www.41hotel.com/

Restaurant Samo – Awesome Korean

It seems strange to tell you that, if you are in Paris for more than 2 days, you simply have to go to a Korean restaurant. But Restaurant Samo is just that place.

Order the Korean BBQ beef, and you will be delivered a heavenly meal of marinated beef that cooks at your table, along with a variety of Korean pickles and vegetables. (Start with the potstickers, aka <<ravioli>> if you’re really hungry.) The food is fresh, the seasoning perfection. With a bottle of Bordeaux from the good, reasonable wine  list, you cannot go wrong.

1 rue du Champ de Mars (right off rue Cler)

Cafe du Marche – Classic Cafe

Cafe dy Marche on rue Cler
Our table, before the kirs came

When you want a kir and some free sausage snacks while standing at a typical neighborhood bar, you should head directly to Cafe du Marche in the 7th.

Same goes for a coffee on a small terrace while watching the hustle and bustle of a real working market street.  

Same goes for great, reasonably priced food. From succulent steak frites to interesting salads (try the delicious Caesar, which is actually not an American Caeser at all, but more of an East Indian style Cobb salad), Cafe du Marche offers something for everyone at great prices with great rue Cler ambiance (particularly people-watching opportunities).  The daily specials are traditional French fare. When they have the duck confit, it’s exceptional, and only outshined by the great potatoes that accompany it.

I’ve said “great” way too much about Cafe du Marche, but since I’ve been going here for more than 12 years and sending happy friends in that direction for the same amount of time, overuse of “great” is deserved.

Stop by when you’re in the neighborhood. Cafe du Marche, in the 7th arrondissement at 38 rue Cler.

Grand Hotel Leveque – Value Lodging in 7th

Grand Hotel Leveque, Paris
Cute Vintage Hotel Sign

Everyone always asks where you can stay in Paris without breaking the bank when you’d rather spend all your money shopping and drinking, and also plan to spend every night in club. If you want a reliable, simple place to lay your head when visiting Paris, the Grand Hotel Leveque right on rue Cler is just what you’re looking for.

Very clean and tidy, with helpful friendly staff, AND a location that’s second-to-none in Paris: right on rue Cler, one of Paris’ greatest market streets, just a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower and Invalides.

Rates, even when it’s full-on tourist time in Paris, are amazingly reasonable. Have a look at: http://www.hotel-leveque.com/

A word of caution to American guests: even if you’re traveling alone, if you get a single at older hotels, you may have a twin bed and have to share a bathroom with people on your floor. So, if you plan to have company or if this bothers you, book an en suite double. True at the Grand Hotel and all other French hotels of a certain age. If this isn’t a problem, book the single, as these rooms are typically a great bargain.

Hotel de Latour Maubourg

One of the many nice rooms at this hotel
One of the many nice rooms at this hotel

The 7th is a great neighborhood to stay in Paris, as it’s centrally located and you can walk nearly everywhere you’d want to visit. Not to mention, there’s a lot to see and do in the 7th itself. The neighborhood manages to be accessible to visitors while not losing its classic Parisian feel.

A fabulous base camp in the 7th is the charming Hotel de Latour Maubourg. In a beautiful older building with nicely appointed, very comfortable rooms, it’s a great home away from home when you’re visiting Paris. The staff are all extremely friendly and very helpful.

Just blocks from rue Cler, right across from a convenient Metro, and within walking distance of just about everywhere, Hotel de Latour Maubourg is a great find. The rooms that look over the little square have great views of Invalides/Ecole Militaire as well.

Take a look and reserve online at: http://www.hotellatourmaubourg.com/